The oldest record of the Club is the minutes of a “General” meeting on 14th September 1927. This makes the Club at least 75 years old! Not surprisingly, we are unable to trace any current members with memories of those days, when the Club membership was 25 shillings (that’s £1.25p). Other gems from those minutes were the agreement to continue to pay 6d (21/2p) for refreshments, and a proposal to invite a “Colonel Duff” to lecture at an early date during the season. No record of this event has been traced to date.
Earliest press cutting
is The Cambridge Daily News of Monday, March 3, 1930, which recorded a double victory for G. N. Robarts of Bishop’s Stortford Badminton Club in “Granta’s second annual tournament”, partnering Miss Cockerell in the mixed doubles and A. H. Adnitt in the men’s doubles.
The General Meeting minutes of 1938
are followed by those of 20th September 1946. (the gap presumably due to the Second World War). These minutes record the amalgamation of the Bishop’s Stortford BadmintonClub and the Watemore Badminton Club, retaining the BSBC name. Hall availability and shortage of shuttles are cited as reasons.
Earliest team photo
is of the first mixed team in 1968 while in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s the Club ran up to 16 teams in a season in the Herts. County leagues, the Hertford Area Leagues, the Harlow Leagues and the Bishop’s Stortford District Leagues. The Club had around 50 members, reflecting the popularity of Badminton as a participant sport at that time.
the Club has had many “homes”, starting at that time at the Burton End (now called the Mountfitchet School) in Stansted, then moving to The Margaret Dane School, The Water Lane Institute, Helena Romanes School Dunmow and The Bishop’s Stortford High School Sports Hall, before moving to its current home at Birchwood High School Sports Centre in 2007.
This move to the newly built Birchwood Sports Centre enabled the club to undertake a radical expansion and reorganisation. Teams began to be fielded in the Herts County League and Braintree District League as well as the Hertford Area League improving the standard of play whilst increasing the range of opposition teams across two counties. The junior section, first started in 2002, became formally established as an integral part of the overall club structure.
the club fielded a Ladies team in the South Cambridgeshire League which therefore meant that teams were playing competitively in three County League structures covering four Counties.
Other bits of history:
The Clubs oldest trophy is the E.M. Barrett Cup. Dating back to the late 1940’s, it is named after Elsie Barrett, a long-serving club member of the time, and is presented to the winners of the clubs internal mixed doubles tournament. One of the earliest winners of the trophy was Joe Gunn, who became another long-serving Club member and after whom the men’s doubles trophy is named. Joe sadly passed away in 2001. The ladies doubles trophy, the Suzanne Sharpe Shield, is named after yet another long-serving club member of the 1960’s and 1970’s. In1977 the Club celebrated its (at least) 50th anniversary by holding a tournament open to local clubs, which it ran for many years.
Before the advent of Sports halls, badminton was played in Church, village and school halls. Low ceilings caused repeated “lets” when the shuttle struck low beams. Matches played at Water Lane Institute regularly finished well after midnight, however one away match played by the Clubs ladies team in the Herts. County league finished at 2.45am.
The Clubs men’s doubles tournament was once won by a lady.